In a recent blog post, Why Emotional Branding is a Must for Brand Strategy in 2021, you learned how to develop a brand strategy. To refresh your memory, the most common brand strategy components are:
- Mission, Values, Promise – Where your business aspires to be in the long run. What values you hold above all others and what can your customers expect from you?
- Positioning – What unique space do you hold in your customer’s mind?
- Architecture – Your “family tree” including any sub-brands and offerings.
- Target audience – The people most likely to interact with your brand, usually your customer.
- Visual identity – Logos, color palette, font systems, etc.
- Voice/tone – What is your brand personality if it were a person.
- Message – What you offer and how you’re different communicated both verbally and non-verbally.
- Competitive analysis – How your competitors have positioned themselves.
These components also play an important role in brand consistency. Brand consistency is the continuous delivery of brand strategy. It’s what builds recognition, trust, and authenticity. According to Techipedia, consistent brands are worth 20% more than those with inconsistencies in their messaging. Without consistency, consumers are more likely to forget or even distrust your brand.
How do we ensure consistency throughout our brand?
A company cannot survive on the creation of a brand strategy alone. Brand consistency takes time and daily effort. Below are five strategies that will help you and your team maintain brand consistency.
1. Create brand guidelines
Creating brand guidelines is an opportunity for you to organize some or all of the brand strategy components mentioned above. It is the rule book in communicating your brand and makes sure all messaging and visuals are aligned with each other. These guidelines can be in the form of a document, handbook, training video, slide deck, or website. These guidelines can be for internal or even public use and will help your team uphold the brand values. Check out Uber’s brand guidelines for a great online example. They’ve separated their system into 9 core elements exploring visuals, tone of voice, and values.
2. Make sure all employees know and follow your brand guidelines
A company’s employees are often the first interaction consumers have with a brand. For this reason, employees of all levels must understand your brand strategy and receive proper training. Once you have your brand guidelines organized, they can be used as a training method. At DRA the brand guidelines are organized in a .pdf available to download by all employees. Our guidelines explore identity, voice, strategy, visuals, execution, and more.
Your employees should also experience the brand values through company culture. The same care and devotion that goes into your audience should also go into your employees. Everyone on the team needs to buy into the brand to sell it.
Below are just a few ways we incorporate DRA’s brand attributes into our company culture:
- Collaboration– We collaborate every day with members of the team, which we can do by using tools like Slacklack, Asana, and Zoom.
- Transparency – We have regular one-on-one reviews, full team meetings, and surveys to make sure all information is relayed and everyone’s voice is heard.
- Adaptive – We are always looking for ways to improve the company and ourselves. We have allotted time each month to learn new skills we can incorporate into our daily work.
3. Continually audit and revisit
It may seem odd to regularly audit a brand when you’re striving for consistency. But, it is necessary to make sure everything still aligns with your brand strategy. Every webpage, content piece, and social engagement can and should be audited. If you see something that does not align with your brand strategy, fix it. This is how you make sure your brand is authentic to the overall values.
4. Ask for feedback
While it’s important to complete your audit, receiving feedback will help you spot inconsistencies you may have missed. Getting honest feedback allows you to find ways to improve and keep brand loyalty. This information should come from both employees and consumers. Feedback can come from reviews, testimonials, day to day communication, or social media. Consumers are smart and allowing them to give feedback allows you to keep up.
5. Commit commit commit!
Brand recognition takes time and constant revisiting. You need to commit every day to uphold your brand values. This consistency will help your audience remember your brand after the first discovery. Trust and loyalty will continue to build if you continue to improve and deliver your brand strategy.
What brand consistency looks like in the real world
Let’s explore the instantly recognizable brand of Coca-Cola. Employees and consumers have bought the same iconic taste and message of Coke for 128 years. They have been consistent in delivering their brand strategy time and time again. A Senior Coca-Cola executive once said “If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.” This statement is an example of how consistent delivery of a great product and message creates memory and loyalty.
While Coke has become a recognizable brand, they too have made mistakes. For example, in 1985 they introduced “New Coke” to keep up with competitor’s sweeter sodas. They altered their original coke formula and the consumers were not thrilled. Breaking consistency, Coca-Cola ended up attacking their most recognizable drink and themselves. But, they listened to customer feedback and were able to make the necessary changes. They quickly brought back the beloved Coke Classic and eventually retired New Coke. What would have happened if they never listened to their consumers or employees regarding New Coke? Would they still be a reliable brand today?
Become the Coca-Cola of your industry
Consistency is the key to building a long-lasting and trusting brand. As your company grows and you put out more content, it can be easy to have some blunders. Remember, even big brands make mistakes. But, by using the strategies we’ve outlined above you can make sure your brand stays consistent and your customers loyal.
Looking for a little more brand guidance? Our creative gurus have you covered.